- PUBG Mobile will be played as a medal sport in the 2022 Asia Games
- Krafton is making a new version of the game specifically for the event
- This marks a new turning point for esports in general
Krafton will release a new version of the popular battle royal PUBG Mobile for the 2022 Asia Games. Players will be able to win medals in eight games, PUBG Mobile being amongst them.
PUBG Mobile at the Asia Games
The Asia Games are one of the region’s biggest sporting events, gathering athletes of various disciplines and millions of viewers from around the continent. They are held every four years, much like the global Olympics, and next year will be an important one for esports in general, as eight games have been chosen to be played as medal sports at Asian Games 2022. PUBG Mobile was one of them.
On November 8, Krafton, PUBG’s developers, confirmed in a press release that a “new version” for the Asian Games is currently being produced. Minu Lee, PUBG Mobile strategic marketing development at Krafton, said that he is glad PUBG Mobile is selected as a medal sport in the Asian Games Hangzhou 2022. He hopes that “fans and players will be able to unite through a new version on PUBG Mobile, which we developed with PUBG IP specifically for the Asian Games.”
The new PUBG Mobile Version
Based on Lee’s words, one can safely assume that Krafton is making a new version of PUBG Mobile specifically for the Asian Games, which could mean it is supposed to comply with China’s strict gaming policies, which already hurt PUBG esports in the country. This should come as no surprise because PUBG is not available in the country. Instead, there is Peacekeeper Elite (also known as Game for Peace), which is a localized version of the game complying with China’s censorship laws.
Speaking of banned games, PUBG is not allowed in India either. It was banned in September last year, the reason being data privacy concerns. A different version of the game called Battlegrounds Mobile India, which is essentially just PUBG Mobile but with a different name, was released earlier this year.
These separate PUBG versions are perhaps one of the reasons why Krafton is making a new version specifically for the Asia Games. After its release different Asian countries will be able to have a common game in which to conduct qualifiers and compete for the gold medal.
Esports will have a large part to play in the Asia Games. Out of the 40 sports, eight are video games:
- Arena of Valor Asian Games version
- Dota 2
- Dream Three Kingdoms 2
- EA Sports FIFA
- League of Legends
- PUBG Mobile Asian Games version
- Street Fighter V
There is a possibility the Chinese media conglomerate Tencent, who developed Arena of Valor, will follow Krafton’s example and also make a separate version of its MOBA for the Asian Games.
These eight games are not the first time esports is being played as a medal event in an event sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). This trend was pioneered in the Philippines in 2019 at the Southeast Asian Games, where Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, Arena of Valor, Dota 2, Starcraft II, Tekken 7, and Hearthstone were played. Perhaps we’re not too far away from seeing esports featured in the Olympics.